Google+

High-Roller Spirals Out of Control in Remake of Riveting Mob Saga

The Gambler

Film Review by Kam Williams

High-Roller Spirals Out of Control in Remake of Riveting Mob Saga

 

By day, Jim Bennett (Mark Wahlberg) is an English Literature professor whose questionable teaching method involves berating his blasé students by suggesting that none of them will ever amount to anything. He reserves all his praise for the only person in the class exhibiting any promise as a writer, the brilliant and beautiful, but modest, Amy Phillips (Brie Larson).

the-gambler-yify-subtitles-for-all-languagesAmy also works part-time at a gambling casino that her teacher just happens to frequent, since Jim is a high-roller sorely in need of Gambler’s Anonymous. After all, the odds are stacked way in favor of the house where, the longer you play, the more you lose.

But Professor Bennett must have flunked statistics, since he foolishly pushes his luck at Black Jack and Roulette and proceeds to fritter away more than he could ever afford. Consequently, he eventually finds himself in hock to the tune of a quarter-million dollars to Mr. Lee (Alvin Ing), the exploitative casino owner who’d gladly extended a long line of credit to the hopelessly compulsive gambler.

Given seven days to pay off the I.O.U. before having his proverbial kneecaps broken by Lee’s goons, the desperate debtor approaches everyone from his mom (Jessica Lange) to a ghetto loan shark (Michael Kenneth Williams) to a well-heeled mobster (John Goodman) for an emergency loan. Trouble is, rather than clearing his tab with the cash he collects, Jim’s so controlled by his habit that he heads right back to the casino tables.

Thus unfolds The Gambler, a riveting remake loosely based on the 1974 classic starring James Caan. Trim and impassioned, Mark Wahlberg handles The Gamblerthe title role in this witty, gritty overhaul of the original relying upon a well-crafted screenplay by Oscar-winner William Monahan (for The Departed).

The cautionary tale basically chronicles the gradual glide into depravity of an unrepentant loser in denial. During that frightening tailspin, Jim is enabled by several of his students, including flattered love interest Amy, basketball All-American Lamar (Anthony Kelley) and promising tennis prodigy Dexter (Emory Cohen). The only question is whether the pathetic prof will be able to pull out of the spiral before crashing and burning.

This searing character study unfolds against a variety of visually-captivating L.A. locales ranging from the seamy to the posh, and is underscored by an appropriately-gritty soundtrack. Director Rupert Wyatt’s (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) job was ostensibly made that much easier by the A-list supporting cast featuring Oscar-winners George Kennedy (for Cool Hand Luke) and Jessica Lange (for Tootsie and Blue Sky), as well as veteran thespians John Goodman, Leland Orser and Michael Kenneth Williams.

If only the self-destructive protagonist were a sympathetic soul instead of a real lout you’d rather root against than for.

 

Very Good (3 stars)

Rated R for sexuality, nudity, and pervasive profanity

Running time: 101 minutes

Distributor: Paramount Pictures

 

Entertainment

For movies opening December 2, 2016

  OPENING THIS WEEK Kam's Kapsules Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun by Kam Williams For movies opening December 2, 2016     BIG BUDGET FILMS Incarnate (PG-13 for terror, profanity, disturbing images, intense violence, sensuality and mature themes) Horror flick about an unconventional exorcist (Aaron Eckhart) who meets his match while attempting to free the mind of an 11 year-old (David Mazouz) possessed by a vicious demon. With Carice Van … [Read More its Good for You...]

Books

Volume 2 of Yes Sir, Yes Sir, 3 Bags Full! – You Do NOT Want to Miss This

  Volume 2 of Yes Sir, Yes Sir, 3 Bags Full! – You Do NOT Want to Miss This Book Review by Amy Lignor What began in an unforgettable Volume 1—living Jerry Hall’s story and dealing with the heart-wrenching issues of the Viet Nam* War—continues here. The action of battle, fraught with the unending horrors that the “unwanted veterans” dealt with, grows even more painful. And as war comes closer to an end, what should have been peaceful thoughts of returning home alive … [Read More its Good for You...]

Art

The Day After the Day Of

  The Day After the Day Of by Paul Ilechko   The sky sheds its tears. This morning is the morning of the day after. The day of mourning, the day after the day of. I beseech the sky to shed tears in order to wash away the tears on my face.   This is the first day of the time after. This is the beginning of a new time, the days of pain, the days of sorrow. We are in mourning. The sky looks down and sheds its tears for us. … [Read More its Good for You...]

Real Estate

Castles in America

  Castles in America by Amy Lignor   Robin Leach and his “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” taught us all long ago that we absolutely love to sit and view ridiculous luxury (usually owned by people who inherited all of it and didn’t work a day in their lives). See that? We had to complain about something as we were beguiled by the amount of money people would send to own or create the “best of the best.” Even though some things were referred to as the “gaudiest of … [Read More its Good for You...]

Lifestyle

Inside WildAid

  Inside WildAid by Amy Lignor   Donations can be made. Time can be volunteered. There are a great number of charities, organizations and hard workers out there who strive with everything they have to save the animals of the world. The National Wildlife Administration, the World Wildlife Federation – these are just two leaders that help keep our beloved species’ on the map. There is also an organization whose sole mission is to end illegal wildlife trade NOW, … [Read More it Good for You...]

Outdoors

Skeeter Boats Comes Up with Cure for Cabin Fever

  Skeeter Boats Comes Up with Cure for Cabin Fever By Craig Lamb   If you are overdosing on TV fishing shows, mindlessly flipping through tackle catalogs, or feeling down and don’t know why, then you are not alone. Count yourself among most of the fishermen in the entire country. We have cabin fever. It’s common this time of year when hunting and football overtake wetting a line on the list of weekend priorities. Or, it’s just plain too chilly and the days too short … [Read More its Good for You...]

Sports

The Best & Worst (So Far) of the 2016 NFL Season

  The Best & Worst (So Far) of the 2016 NFL Season by Amy Lignor     Okay…we’re almost dead center, folks, so it’s time to sum up the best and silliest actions and reactions that the 2016 NFL season has provided fans thus far.   Analysts are always yapping, and most likely nothing they say will actually come true. However, right now almost everyone is agreeing to the fact that Tom Brady has a score to settle. Yes, he’s smiling for the cameras … [Read More its Good for You...]

Business

Charity Begins at Home

  Charity Begins at Home by Amy Lignor   Turning a blind eye is easy for some; preferred by others. But the fact is that the bad doesn’t become good – in any area – unless eyes are open wide to not only see what’s occurring, but also to gain the knowledge needed to stop the bad from getting even worse. Remarks are made about “other countries” and what they do wrong when it comes to the harming of animals for profit. However, in order to have this loathsome … [Read More its Good for You...]

Travel

Exploring the Holidays Around the Globe

  Exploring the Holidays Around the Globe by Amy Lignor   Thanksgiving has been had. Games have been watched and the golden turkey has caused a great many belts to be loosened. So…here it comes!   From hanging the stockings on the chimney with care to the red-nosed reindeer who had to be there; from Santa heading down that chimney just right to lovely sleigh bells ringing softly in the night, the holiday season is a truly wonderful thing for all ages. And, no, … [Read More its Good for You...]

Google+